Luke, 47, was one of the first people to be supported by Autism East Midlands when it founded in 1968. Luke attended the charity’s school, lived in its residential home and now lives independently in a flat in Worksop. Over his time with Autism East Midlands, Luke’s independence has increased and Luke now leads an active life. Thanks to the charity’s enterprise scheme, he works at a local supermarket and is a member of a walking club. Luke’s support from the Autism East Midlands team today focuses primarily on cooking and taking medication.
However Luke still finds it very hard to cope with the daily stresses of life, in particular unexpected changes, which can cause him to experience extreme anxiety and anger.
Luke explains “The situations I find difficult to cope with are loud bangs, loud noises and locked doors. Also shops being closed when I want to visit them or if it doesn’t have the things I need. I also don’t like certain songs on the radio. When these things happens I can get very angry and ‘loose my rag’.”
To help Luke better cope with his anxieties, Austim East Midlands introduced assistive technology, Brain in Hand, to his support plan. A cloud-based solution, Brain in Hand enables Luke to access personalised coping strategies from his phone and helps support staff to see, through a secure website, what problems he’s facing and what solutions are working for him.
When Luke now comes across a locked door, rather than experience heightened anxiety, he turns to his Brain in Hand. From his phone he can read solutions that he’s developed with his mentor. For a locked door, this includes ‘Look for a member of staff with a key, see what else needs doing or go and have a coffee’. Should Luke find himself in an extremely difficult situation, he can also ‘press red’ on the technology’s traffic light system. When he does this the charity is immediately informed and so can be there for him when he needs help most.
Brain in Hand has made a significant difference to Luke. It has helped him to take control of his behaviour and manage his own stress and anxieties.
Commenting on the technology Luke says: “I have a Brain in hand phone and it’s helped me to control my anxieties and stress. It has really helped me control my anger for the problems I face and I’ve got much better ever since using it.”